Dear Mr. Gold:
I’m planning a unique culinary tour of Los Angeles with my boyfriend and wanted to see if you could help me. I have already figured out a restaurant for appetizers and drinks and I was thinking we would do dinner at Opaque, a.k.a. dining in the dark. But I have been unable to find a unique dessert experience offered in Los Angeles, minus Simon L.A. and Providence which I have already been to.
The epic Junk Food Platter at Simon and Adrian Vasquez’s magnificent all-dessert tasting menu at Providence are, unfortunately, the first places I would have mentioned. Does it have to be a sitdown place? Banh Kanhom Thai, in the big Thai mini-mall on Hollywood Boulevard, has a lot of squiggly Thai desserts, many of them made to order, that you are unlikely to have tried (unless you happen to be Thai). Banh Mi & Che Cali — the closest one is probably on Valley Boulevard in Alhambra — has a huge selection of che, Vietnamese desserts, many of them based on mung beans. La Mill in Silver Lake has a lot of Providence-like desserts designed by Vasquez at somewhat lower prices. I like the sweet black rice with salty coconut milk at Saladang in Pasadena. Desserts at the new XIV on Sunset tend to involve a lot of things like mozzarella foam and gold flakes. There’s always the hot dog at the Infield sandwiched between two deep-fried Twinkies and smothered in aerosol cheese — if that’s not unique, I don’t know what is. But after dinner at Opaque, you’re probably going to be full, surly and covered with the soup that your boyfriend has spilled in your lap. At such times I would suggest the bacon-chocolate crunch bar at Animal. Bacon and chocolate! That’s all you need to know. Animal, 435 N. Fairfax Ave., L.A., (323) 782-9225 or www.animalrestaurant.com.